Mobile Retail Expected to Top $12B in ’14

March 9, 2010

The global mobile retail market is expected to top $12 billion by 2014, according to [pdf] a new study by Juniper Research.

“Mobile Marketing & Retail Strategies: Advertising, Coupons & Smart Posters 2009-2014” indicates that the mobile retail market, which was worth $4.1 billion in 2009, will experience average annual growth of about 24% during the next four years to reach slightly more than $12 billion in 2014.

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Advertising Will Overtake Coupons by 2013
Juniper Research has identified three key segments comprising the mobile retail market: mobile coupons (total redemption value of mobile coupons), mobile smart posters (total fees resulting from smart poster product information, downloads and sales), and mobile advertising (total ad spend upon mobile distribution channels).

Currently, the market is dominated by mobile coupon revenues, which accounted for two-thirds of total mobile retail revenues in 2009. However, as digital ad spend increasingly transfers into the mobile space, mobile advertising is expected to steadily grow, and ultimately account for more than half of total revenues in the space by 2013.

Although mobile smart posters exhibit far greater average growth than the other two retail sectors, they are expected to remain a niche market throughout the forecast period and will not exceed 1% of the total market by 2014.

Mobile Retail Evolves
Mobile retail and marketing began primarily with mobile content, such as games and ringtones. Mobile content providers promoted these products via banner space. This model holds limited potential as it does not connect to the world outside the mobile space and does not bring in any new sources of revenue.

However, mobile retail is entering a new phase where external physical product brands are piloting ad hoc mobile ad campaigns. Once brands have successfully engaged in ad hoc ad campaigns, it is hoped they will return for repeat advertising (that may include direct mobile purchase), and ultimately make mobile part of their integrated multimedia/multiplatform strategy.

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Mobile Device Popularity Surges
The popularity of smartphones, 3G devices and other advanced mobile applications surged in the US during 2009, according to comScore mobiLens data.

Between December 2008 and December 2009, the percentage of US mobile phone subscribers with unlimited data plans increased from 16% to 21%, with several phones now requiring an unlimited data plan subscription at the time of purchase. During the same period, smartphone ownership increased from 11% to 17%, while 3G phone ownership increased from 32% to 43%. All three segments of the mobile retail market stand in position to take advantage of this growth by developing more sophisticated programs that leverage the capabilities of advanced mobile devices.

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